Packing 101


West Hall, the residence hall where Olin’s first year students live, includes double rooms equipped with a desk, a chair, an adjustable-height bed and mattress, an armoire, a three-drawer dresser, a two-shelf bookcase, and a wastebasket and recycling container for each student. The room has a wall-mounted light. The roommates will share a combination refrigerator/microwave oven provided by the College. As most occupants of typical residence hall rooms will tell you, being creative with the space you’ve got is the key to success. Amazing things can be accomplished with milk crates and double hangers.

It is a good idea to get in touch with your roommate prior to move-in day. This will give you the opportunity to coordinate who’s bringing what.

Suggestions from students

  • Do not bring everything you own. Leave something to protect your turf at home.
  • If there are clothes in your closet that you haven’t worn in the past two years, leave them there.
  • It does not snow in September. Do not bring your heaviest winter boots, coats and sweaters until later in the year. If you are not planning a trip home before the cold weather hits, pack a box before you leave home and ask your family to ship it to you in early November.
  • Living space in a residence hall decreases proportionately with the number of trips you make into Boston. Count on a thirty percent increase in possessions by May, and leave room for them.
  • Check your family homeowner’s insurance policy to make sure your belongings (including laptop) are covered while you are away at college. Consider purchasing the personal property insurance described in the National Student Services, Inc., brochure sent to you in mid May.

Recommended Items to Bring From Home

  1. Pillows and pillow cases
  2. Mattress pad, sheets, and blankets to fit an XL twin: 36” X 80”
  3. Toiletries & medications
  4. Reminder of home – something familiar, something unique that can go up on the wall, your dresser, or on your desk
  5. Reading/desk lamp
  6. Towels
  7. Laundry basket and/or bag
  8. Alarm clock
  9. Sense of humor!


Due to COVID the public bike program is suspended, personal bikes must be stored in student rooms

Olin has a public bike program so you do not need to bring a bike to campus. Indoor bicycle storage is severely limited and all bikes must be registered. Unless you are a serious road cyclist or serious mountain biker, you should not bring a bike to campus.

Recommended Items NOT to Bring From Home

  1. Halogen lamps, candles, or space heaters (major fire hazards!)
  2. Your dog, cat, gerbil, lizard, etc.– with the exception of fish in a 10 gallon tank or less, pets are not permitted in College residence halls
  3. Power tools of ANY kind (we have an AMAZING machine shop that has every tool you’ll ever need and many that you’ve never heard of)
  4. Refrigerators, microwave, hot plates, or coffee makers (the college provides you with a microfridge and there is a well stocked student kitchen with all of these things an much, much more where you’ll be living)
  5. Big screws, drywall anchors, or anything else that might damage the walls in your room
  6. Everything you own, while we want this to feel like home, a shared residence hall room can't hold everything.
  7. Fireworks, firearms, swords, or anything else that might be deemed dangerous
  8. Illegal drugs or alcohol


You may be planning to ship some of your belongings to Olin. We recommend that you tag your luggage with two address tags: one on the outside and one on the inside.

 Late August is a busy time for many carriers, so ship your luggage one to two weeks before you will be arriving. We cannot accept any packages received prior to August 20. Note that Olin receives packages Monday through Friday from 8 am – 4 pm.

Ship luggage and other packages to: [Your Name] [Your room #], Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Olin Way, Needham, MA 02492-1200. For the move-in period, please address luggage or other large packages to your room number AND your mailbox.

FAQ About Living in the Residence Hall

 Sorry, no. The Residence Hall will be closed for final cleaning and preparation for move-in.

Yes, all rooms have wall-to-wall carpet. Bathrooms and bedroom entry vestibules have tile flooring.

The bed is extra long twin length and is adjustable in height (though it does not raise high enough to serve as a loft and the beds are not bunkable/stackable). The desk has 3 side drawers, none of which are deep enough to hold hanging file folders. The dresser is on casters and can be located under the bed. The bookcase is on casters and can be located under the bed.

Each room has its own bathroom. The bathrooms have ceramic tile floors and walls. Shower walls are made of fiberglass and a heavy duty vinyl shower curtain is supplied. There are two large towel rods in the bathroom area and two small towel rods in the sink area. There is a mirrored medicine cabinet with several small shelves inside and storage space for cleaning products is available in the large cabinet under the sink. The sink has a countertop for soap dishes or toothbrush holders (supplied by students). The toilets are tankless.

You do! Toilet paper, bathroom cleaning supplies and vacuums are available in two locations on each floor of the Residence Hall. You are responsible for keeping your bedroom and bathroom clean and there will be 2-3 bathroom inspections each year announced approximately a week in advance and conducted by Facilities staff to ensure that your bathroom is clean. Students failing any portion of the inspection will have an opportunity to clean the failed areas of their bathroom and have it re-inspected. Students failing a re-inspection will be billed for any necessary cleaning.

A microfridge is a combination mini-refrigerator/freezer and microwave. One is provided in each student bedroom.

There are three laundry rooms in West Hall. Each one has a washer, dryer, and laundry board. Students pay per load using either coins or their ID cards (card readers debit money from students’ personal Olin Dollars account). Students must supply their own iron; some have found it advantageous to share one iron amongst many students, only irons with utomatic shut off are permitted.

FOR 2020- we suggest you set up any banking prior to arriving to campus due to travel restrictions and visitor restrictions.

There are several banks in the Needham-Wellesley area including Middlesex Savings Bank, Citizens Bank, Bank of America, and Needham Co-operative Bank.

 Bank of America and Citizen's Bank both have an ATM next door on Babson’s campus.

Local banks will be here during the first week of classes  for your convenience (they will not be here on move-in day).

 A local bank reports that you need to be at least 18 years old to open an account. Students under 18 will need a parental co-signer to open an account.

Students are encouraged to have three forms of ID with them so that they can have easy access to these services. Passports, driver’s licenses, and social security cards are the most common forms of ID. Pay-per-use phones are available at large box stores such as Target without ID. A local bank accepts passports for international students wishing to open an account.

Many of our students use online vendors such as Amazon to order their books to get a competitive price. If you plan to pay cash for books through Babson’s bookstore or another local bookstore, students report you will need between $200-$500.

At this time we are unable to offer personal storage on campus   Private storage facilities are available in the Needham area. 

Items that are not clearly labeled and left in storage at the end of the school year will be discarded or donated to charitable organizations.

You will want to spend your time on arrival day attending the day’s programs and unpacking, not running errands off campus. You should do as much of your shopping as possible ahead of time. Feel free to order items online and have them shipped to campus prior to your arrival (we cannot accept shipments prior to August 20).

You should pack at least one nice outfit that you would wear to an interview. The Fall Career Fair is in October and we want you to dress for success. Questions? Email Suzanne Alcott @

Most students find jeans and t-shirts just fine but students who spend a lot of time in the shop recommend a pair of coveralls. If you enjoy (or think you'll enjoy) working with grease and machines such as the drill press and lathe which can create a lot of saw dust or metal shavings, this simple investment will pay off in the long-term for sure.